Ukraine is organising a ghost parade to commemorate its first Independence Day since Russian President Vladimir Putin dispatched his soldiers to invade the nation.
This week, Khreschatyk Street, the biggest thoroughfare in Kyiv, is lined with the charred and broken remains of Russian combat vehicles that were smashed during Ukraine’s remarkably effective defence against the Russian invasion began six months ago.
The odd reversal of the celebratory procession Russian commanders had wanted to lead through a seized capital is the “procession” of more than 70 treadless tanks and crumpled artillery launchers.
Vasyl Radchenko, a visitor from his home outside the city who held back tears as he observed a cavalcade of mangled iron, said, “The Russians intended to drive this procession through Kyiv, but our military has done it for them.”
“Wednesday marks Ukraine’s 31st Independence Day; in lieu of the official celebrations that had to be postponed due to the ongoing conflict, the threat of Russian missile strikes, and the prohibition on large-scale gatherings throughout the holiday weekend, a street show will take their place.
Despite their fears, tens of thousands of Ukrainians have descended upon the metal hulks to take cheerful selfies and write impenetrable messages for Putin, who ordered the invasion after a speech in which he insisted that Ukraine was not a real nation but rather was “entirely created by Russia” and “never had its own authentic statehood.”